Population Growth, Atmospheric Change and Global Food Security
Ziska, L.H., Bunce, J.A., Shimono, H., Gealy, D.R., Baker, J.T., Newton, P.C.D., Reynolds, M.P., Jagadish, K.S.V., Zhu, C., Howden, M. and Wilson, L.T. 2012. Food security and climate change: on the potential to adapt global crop production by active selection to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. Proceedings of the Royal society B 279: 4097-4105.
In response to this question, the international team of eleven researchers - hailing from Australia, China, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines and the United States - goes on to show that "plant selection and/or breeding can exploit one of the most predictable anthropogenic changes: the global increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)," adding that "adaptation to rising CO2 remains one of the simplest research strategies to ensure that global food security can be maintained in light of the anthropogenic stresses likely to be experienced for the remainder of the twenty-first century." And why is that? Because nearly all crop plants grow bigger and better - and produce greater yields - when exposed to higher-than-current atmospheric CO2 concentrations; and they use water more efficiently in doing so.
It's really a "no-brainer." As almost everyone is convinced that the atmosphere's CO2 content will continue to rise for some time to come, and as this phenomenon is accompanied by an increase in agricultural productivity and water use efficiency, why not screen the various lines or cultivars of Earth's current most highly-cultivated crops and select those that are most positively impacted by atmospheric CO2 enrichment for further breeding? ... for that is the way to develop crop lines that take maximum advantage of this aerial "blessing in disguise."